By Mansur Aramide (Gombe) and Njadvara Musa (Damaturu)
Students drawn from the 19 Northern states, yesterday, converged on Gombe State, marching round the metropolis to protest against hike in tuition fees and the Education Loan Bill.
Wielding placards with inscriptions, ‘We want a secured future for all students’, ‘Give us education you were given’, ‘Say no to exorbitant tuition fees’, ‘This government does not care about students’ and ‘Say no to Education Loan Bill’ among others, the students lamented the likely impact the tuition fee hike might have on education in the region.
The National Coordinator, Coalition of Northern Groups, Students Wing (CNG-SW), Emuseh Bokunga, said: “The hike in university tuition, if left unchecked, will lead to massive dropouts and return millions of youths in this region to the streets, as new students will have to give up their dreams of acquiring higher education.
“Returning students that are yet to overcome the trauma of an eight-month Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike and struggling to bear the frustration of a wasted academic year, resources and energy would find themselves at the receiving end.”
The students, however, passed resolutions among which was the demand, from stakeholders, of concerted action to ensure immediate downward review of tuition fees across the universities in the North.
“The Northern elite and all stakeholders should speak up to reject the passage of the Education Loan Bill, as the lifespan and sustainability of the loan is not guaranteed.
“In the event of passage of the bill becomes inevitable, we demand your urgent intervention in ensuring the provision of easy accessibility and soft repayment clauses therein,” she hoped.
CNG-SW, however, appealed to the Northern elite, especially the business community, to support public varsities in their domain.
MEANWHILE, Governor Mai Mala Buni of Yobe State has engaged 2,670 university and other graduates to serve the state in the education, health, environment and agriculture sectors.
Director General, Press and Media Affairs to the Governor, Mamman Mohammed, in a statement, yesterday, in Damaturu, disclosed that his principal approved the immediate employment of degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) and Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE) holders.
According to Buni, the engagement of the graduates by the Ministry of Wealth Creation, Employment and Employment Generation (MWEG) is to be implemented by the Commissioner, Abdullahi Bego.
“The exercise was to fill the existing gaps of providing efficient service to the people in various communities.
“Out of the 2,670 candidates, 890 each are for university degrees, HND and NCE holders in the state.”
Buni, in the statement, also explained that the graduate and diploma holders were selected from the 178 political wards in the 17 local councils. He, therefore, charged them to justify their engagement into the various sectors with a high sense of commitment and dedication to serve the people.
Source: The Guardian